Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen teamed up on May 2 for the "Audi Power Breakfast" held at the Audi headquarters in Herndon, Va., in support of Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver.
Best Buddies' mission is very simple, yet powerful: pair a member of the community with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) with a friend to help them with everything from simply socializing, all the way to assisting with school work and job placement.
The "Power Breakfast" kicked off this year's Audi Best Buddies Challenge, one of the organization's main national fundraising events. On Oct. 22, in Washington D.C., more than 1,000 bike riders, runners and walker will gather to make a difference honoring the mission of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who dedicated her life to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"We consider the Challenge a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the community that houses our headquarters", said de Nysschen. "And we are extremely grateful to the coach joining us to support this worthy cause."
In an effort to encourage Audi employees and partners to sign up for the fundraiser, Coach Shanahan delivered an empowering speech about overcoming challenges as a team and athletics as universal language to unite people: "The main purpose of life is giving, helping those in need without expecting any services in return," he said.
Action followed his words, when he presented a $5,000 check to Best Buddies Development Director Hilary Stevens and said he would donate another $2,500 on his behalf.
Best Buddies Ambassador Theo Gayle then spoke about the special power of what Best Buddies is based on: friendship. Inspired by seeing Best Buddies in action -- and motivated by signed footballs offered by Coach Shanahan for the first sign-ups -- more than 40 Audi employees registered on the spot committing to jointly raise $100,000 for the October Challenge.
In addition to presenting various corporate incentives for the Audi team's top fundraisers, de Nysschen announced the brand-new "Audi Team Regional Competition" between the three Audi US Sales areas culminating in the top fundraiser nation-wide winning one of the newly launched Audi duo bikes.
-- About the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington D. C.
The Challenge will feature a number of events starting and ending at the Washington Monument on the National Mall followed by an awards ceremony and private luncheon with entertainment on the Monument grounds:
- 20-mile and 100k rides (cycling events)
- 5K walk and run led by Olympic gold-medalist Carl Lewis
- 5K Youth Fun Run led by Lauren Potter, the star of the Emmy Award-winning TV series "Glee"
- Criterium Races
To learn more about the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington D.C., please visit http://www.dcchallenge2011.org.
-- About Best Buddies International
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide.
Today, Best Buddies' seven formal programs – Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.